Review of Pantera's "Vulgar Display of Power" the Heavy Groovy Thrash Metal Album That Came After Cowboys from Hell
Vulgar Display of Power: a heavy album that is creative and memorable
Pantera was a heavy metal band that changed their musical style, getting heavier, more hard hitting and aggressive. Their 1992 album Vulgar Display of Power is an example of an album that is hard hitting, creative, and VERY heavy! If you can’t handle the heaviness on this album then check out other types of metal. But 30 years after its release, the album remains one that many heavy metal fans will remember. However, this album is still not as good as Cowboys from Hell, the band’s best work. Even so, get prepared to hear some loud, heavy, and aggressive groove thrash metal. These guys from Texas really know how to entertain fans and they certainly provided entertainment for me throughout the 1990’s.
The end of the song "By Demons Be Driven" features a classic repeating riff that showed the talent of Pantera that was in full force at this time.
Note: another former member of Pantera has unfortunately passed away as of June 22, 2018. That member is drummer Vinnie Paul who is said to have passed away at his home in Las Vegas home due to what is being called a massive heart attack.
Track Listing for Vulgar Display of Power
- Mouth for War
- A New Level
- F****** Hostile
- This Love
- No Good (Attack the Radical)
- Live in Hole
- Regular People
- By Demons be Driven
Analysis of the Songs Mouth For War, A New Level, and Walk
The opening song "Mouth for War" is certainly a nice way to open up the album but the song "Walk" is the first real “signature” song on the album that really made this band even more famous. The song is basically about showing respect to others in a day and age that has seen a decline in the social graces of the US. There is a good blues style solo by the late Dimebag Darrell. The type of friends that someone has are a pretty good indicator of the type of person that they are. Hanging out with the right crowd is always the best way to do things. The song Dead Wrong has a resemblance to this song and you will clearly hear it in the guitar playing. Just to refresh the memory of those that may have forgotten, Dead Wrong is a song off of the Annihilator album called Remains released in 1997. However, let us not forget the song "A New Level." This is a song about a person that has reached a new level of confidence after years of being picked on, bullied, and harassed. Where was this kind of songwriting on their later 1990’s albums?
The Song After the One Called "Walk" is Memorable As Well
In perhaps an extreme display of heaviness, anger, or whatever, Pantera took its thrash metal to a new level with their fast, heavy brand of thrash with the less than three minute 4th song. Fans of the band know what I’m referring to here.
This Love: a memorable song that has stood the test of time
"This Love" is yet another famous song by this band that has stood the test of time and is still a great semi-love ballad. It has a very noticeable soft part in the beginning. I used to enjoy this one a lot back in 1992 and would even listen to it at night time. The song is about someone who tells his lover that he loved her but that he lied to her. He has been so hurt by her that reconciliation is going to be very difficult. The middle of the song has some great slow, heavy guitar picking before it switches back to the famous soft part that fans will remember. Relationships that are built on a foundation of lies and deceit will not last.
The official music video for the song This Love
Best song on the album Vulgar Display of Power
What is the best song on the album Vulgar Display of Power?
Vulgar Display of Power is an album that sends a very clear message: we are tired of the status quo
Vulgar Display of Power is memorable because the band was trying to make a statement back then. They show that they are against the status quo and they are tired of the social unrest that has affected the US for so many years. Songs such as "Rise" and "No Good (Attack the Radical)" address the very important concept of being united to take a stand against hatred. We must replace hatred with understanding for one another and pride. Rise also addresses the concept of forgive and forget. This is really difficult to do however. The band brings up the subject so that they can raise awareness of the social problems that have plagued the US for so many years. Racism and prejudice have been too common as this has led to much chaos and violence. No Good (Attack the Radical) is an anti-racist song similar to the song called Never. However, the song Never is much better than this one though!
What is Different About Phil Anselmo's Voice in This Album?
Vocalist Phil Anselmo takes his voice to a much harsher, rougher level than before. Some of you may like this change in style. I really think that high-level falsetto like vocal style that heavy metal fans heard on 1990’s Cowboys from Hell suits him much better. As we get closer to the end of this album, By Demons be Driven starts with a pretty heavy mid-tempo guitar playing style and switches to a blues style temporarily. As Anselmo keeps shouting “by demons be driven” you can really hear the anger in his voice! "Hollow" is a mostly ballad kind of song to end a pretty solid album.
"Mouth For War" Music Video
How Good Is Vulgar Display of Power?
For those of us that grew up listening to this album, the anger, ferocity, and heaviness will always be memorable. This was the last time that we saw Pantera at their best. They would still remain heavy, but the quality of the songs and solos would see a major drop. It is the opinion of this writer that American metal bands are not as good as they used to be. What kind of rating does Vulgar Display of Power deserve? Well, it is obviously not as superb as Cowboys from Hell but the album still should get a score in the 80’s. I would give it at least an 85 out of 100 points. This is another very solid groove metal kind of album that is packed with enough heavy riffs to satisfy those that love heavy groove thrash.
Sure, Pantera is always going to be known among many fans as one of the best US metal bands but they are not the best of all time (being subjective here). Along with Helstar, Pantera may be the best band to come from Texas in the heavy metal genre.
They once again had an awesome power ballad song for this album, the one called Hollow and for those of us still having that nostalgic feeling about these days, we will not be disappointed. The title may as well be considered appropriate because what we have in this album is vulgar lyrics combined with a riff intensity that the thrash metal world had not seen prior to the album’s release. Did Pantera reach a new level of confidence and power? It sure seems like it. There’s a certain level of musical rage that Pantera reached with Vulgar Display of Power while still having just enough melody for it to not be a total groove metal kind of album. People can say whatever they want but this 1992 studio album by Pantera was the last great album released by them and they did not reach this level of greatness ever since. This Love was one of those songs that kind of scared me when I heard it on the radio because it just sounded so haunting in a way that is difficult to describe. The solo in the middle section after the main riff is also worthy of mention as well.
The song called "Hollow"
Rate Pantera's album Vulgar Display of Power
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2016 Ara Vahanian